This past week, Provost Robert Groves sent an email to the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, soliciting applications for a standing committee on diversity.
According to the email, the diversity committee will consist of students, faculty and administrators who “work collaboratively on projects throughout the year.” Potential projects include diversity, race, ethnicity and social justice related issues.
A special focus of the committee would be to scrutinize issues within the overall student experience including student life, educational and co-curricular opportunities and alumni engagement.
The committee’s role, however, needs to be more defined in order to be effective. We urge Provost Groves to find a focus within the broad range of diversity issues it promises to cover in order to effectively approach the topic of pluralism on Georgetown’s campus.
The committee could be particularly successful with issues including pressing questions about how Georgetown can attract a more diverse student body, how to ensure diversity within on-campus student groups, and how to facilitate a greater awareness and dialogue about diversity within the university.
Another concern for the committee is how it will interact with similar groups like the Office of Institutional Diversity Equity and Affirmative Action that urged the provost to establish a diversity requirement for Georgetown students.
It is unclear whether the committee will approach the diversity requirement topic or meet with individuals on the previously existing committee, and troubling that university administrators are only just now taking a new step toward addressing the issue.
It is reasonable that, at this time, there is not much information on the diversity committee, as it is still being created, but it is important that the Office of the provost keep students informed and engaged on an issue of this nature as the committee develops and eventually comes to fruition.
This committee is surely a step in the right direction for the university in continuing a dialogue concerning diversity that was started by a proposal through the Black House that was submitted to the Provost only one year ago.
Nevertheless, the lack of diversity is not a newly recognized issue, and will demand action on the part of the university that the university itself will not be able to supply unless it furthers its collaboration with the student body and voice.